With 18-26% of adults affected by shoulder pain, you’ve probably asked yourself – is physiotherapy good for shoulder pain? Recurring shoulder pain can affect anyone, making it one of the most common issues adults face nowadays.
Whether you’re an active athlete or have a job that requires long office hours, the chances of you already experiencing shoulder pain in the past are pretty high. We wrote this article to answer your questions and respond to the main concerns related to physiotherapy for shoulder pain.
Table of Contents
What Are the Causes of Shoulder Pain?
Many issues and activities can cause shoulder pain. However, the primary injuries linked to shoulder pain are:
● Dislocation – Caused by pulling back the shoulder too hard or rotating it too far. You’ll feel pain, numbness, and weakness. With dislocation, you can harm soft tissues located in the subacromial space.
● Separation – A hard blow or a fall can cause the tear of the joint ligaments holding together the shoulder blade, leading to separation. It’s easily recognisable by a bump on top of the shoulder.
● Tear – Tears are typically caused by overuse or repetitive motions. Cartilage tear and rotator cuff tear are the two most common examples. Tears worsen if not treated, so your shoulder will feel increasingly weaker.
● Fracture – Hard hits and falls can cause the bone to crack or break, causing a fracture. If your shoulder is fractured, you’ll see bruising and feel a lot of pain. You also won’t be able to lift your arm.
● Frozen shoulder – If adhesions build up in your shoulder area, you won’t be able to move your shoulder freely, leading to a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder is caused by insufficient use, so it’s common for people who recently had surgery or stopped using their shoulder due to pain.
● Arthritis – Various types of arthritis can cause shoulder pain, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. You may feel pain and stiffness, which prevents you from completing numerous activities.
Type of Shoulder Pain
As there are different causes of shoulder pain, it’s only natural not all shoulder pain is the same. Here are the three most common types of shoulder pain:
1-Stiff And Painful
A stiff and painful shoulder doesn’t allow you to lift your arm. The shoulder will often feel tight due to increased tension. Stiff and painful shoulders can be caused by improper posture, incorrect sleeping positions, long sitting periods, and overuse.
2-Weak And Painful
If you have trouble lifting your arm, completing certain motions, or carrying heavier objects, there’s a possibility you have a weak and painful shoulder. Injuries are the most common cause of weak shoulders, as they can harm the surrounding bones, joints, and tendons.
3-Unstable And Painful
An unstable and painful shoulder limits your control over the shoulder. It usually means the shoulder isn’t where it should be, causing pain, weakness, bruising, or numbness. Shoulder dislocation and separation are typical causes of an unstable shoulder.
How Does a Physio Help With Shoulder Pain?
Shoulder pain often won’t go away on its own, even if you have some days when your injured shoulder seems to be getting better. Ignoring the symptoms will only worsen your condition, so you should visit a physiotherapist as soon as you start experiencing pain.
Professional and experienced physiotherapists will thoroughly examine you with the help of a physical exam, X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to establish a detailed and precise diagnosis.
That way, physiotherapists can find the most suitable shoulder pain physiotherapy for your condition. Besides an effective treatment, physiotherapy is here to monitor your progress and make any required changes in therapy along the way.
That way, you’ll receive a personalized treatment that will help you recover effectively and regain mobility efficiently. Your physiotherapist will also give you useful tips and advice on providing better support to your shoulders and avoiding re-injury.
Physiotherapy for Shoulder Pain
Every shoulder therapy is different as it’s custom-designed for patients’ unique conditions. Here’s a quick view of some possible therapy treatments:
● Heat therapy
● Ice therapy
● Hands-on therapy
● Electrical stimulation
● Joint mobilisation
● Athletic or kinesiology taping
● Activity modification
● Home exercise program
● Anti-inflammatory medication
How Long Does Physiotherapy Take For Shoulder Pain?
The length of the treatment can depend on multiple conditions, including the severity and type of the injury and how well your shoulder responds to therapy. In most cases, 6–8 weeks of physiotherapy, alongside 4–6 months of home exercise, is enough.
Physiotherapy Exercises For Shoulder Pain
From countless good shoulder exercises, choose the ones you feel most comfortable doing. Focus on gentle but effective stretching and flexibility exercises that target your shoulder for the best results.
What Is The Best Exercise For Shoulder Pain?
Here are some of the best exercises that will give you the best results:
● Neck stretches
● Seated twists
● Shoulder circles
● Chest expansion
● Across-the-chest stretch
● Thread the needle
Shoulder Pain Exercises To Avoid
Avoid weightlifting and overly demanding exercises that can be too harsh on shoulder injuries and cause even more damage. Overworking the injured shoulder could even lead to you requiring a transplant in the future.
Shoulder Pain After Physiotherapy
Here are some useful tips on taking care of your shoulder pain after physiotherapy:
● Rest the shoulder
● Avoid any painful movements
● Reduce overhead activities
● Incorporate stretching exercises
1. Should I See A Physiotherapist For Shoulder Pain?
Yes, a physiotherapist can locate the source of your shoulder pain and find a reliable therapy that’ll provide the best recovery results.
2. Can Physical Therapy Make Shoulder Pain Worse?
Although you might feel worse after physical therapy, you shouldn’t feel any shoulder pain. High-quality shoulder pain physiotherapy will ensure you get the best results.
3. Is It Safe To Work Out With Shoulder Pain?
Light stretching exercises are always welcome. However, you should consult a physiotherapist on what you can incorporate into your workouts.